Google launches affordable Android One smartphones in PH
MANILA, Philippines – A smartphone in the hands of every Filipino.
This is the primary goal of Google when it launched the Android One line of smartphones in the Philippines Tuesday.
“We are already in a rapidly growing internet market. With today’s announcement, Google hopes to contribute to the rising number of Filipinos getting online to experience the power of the internet at their fingertips,” Ken Lingan, country manager of Google Philippines said during the launch.
“Imagine what one can do. In fact, imagine what one hundred million Filipinos online will do to make this nation even greater,” he said.
Lingan said that only a small percentage of people worldwide, around 1.75 billion, have smartphones that can access the internet while the rest, around five billion, do not.
In the Philippines, internet penetration rate was at 37 percent as of 2013, according to data from the World Bank. Lingan said that the Philippines is expected to overtake South Korea in terms of number of people connected to the internet as the internet penetration rate rises to 66 percent within two years.
The low-cost, entry-level smartphones, which will be initially distributed by Cherry Mobile and MyPhone, will have all the basic features of higher-end smartphones at less than P5,000.
“Think of the vegetable farmers in North Luzon and how they can flourish if they can easily access the web. They can use tools that can directly link them to buyers, get real-time information on market prices and empower them to find the best market to sell their produce,” Lingan said.
“The growth potential of a digitized agriculture sector is immense and imagine theis happening in every single sector in our country. Small scale farmers, micro enterprises, big businesses – the internet fits all sizes and it levels the playing field. Its where size doesn’t matter,” he said.
The Philippines will be the sixth country in the world, after India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, where Android One smartphones will be available.
“Through [Android One phones] we believe people will be able to explore their own boundaries and they’ll be able to achieve whatever ambitions and hopes they have,” Caesar Sengupta, Vice President of Product Management said.
“By bringing the power of the internet in the hands of millions and billions, it will help unlock their potential and [open up] opportunities for them,” he said.
Android One’s coolest features include an improved Google Voice Search and Translate, both of which can recognize Filipino.
In a demonstration during the launch by Lingan, Google Translate correctly translated “bawal tumawid,” as “illegal crossing.”
He also asked Google Voice search “gaano kahaba ang EDSA?” and “kailan kinasal si Marian Rivera?” and Google provided the answer in a couple of seconds.
The entry-level Android One smartphones, which boast the “fastest, most responsive” Android operating system Lollipop, will be sold as the Cherry Mobile One and MyPhone Uno at their respective retail outlets within the weeks following the announcement.
Lollipop claims to have “2x better performance” compared to previous versions and has a battery saver feature that can “extend battery life by 90 minutes.”
The pre-installed Google Chrome for Mobile browser is also said to feature a 50 percent data compression technology allowing users to access more websites even if they have limited data plans.
The phones will also have all the features Filipinos love such as dual SIM capability, a replaceable battery, FM radio, micro-SD card slot, and front- and rear-facing cameras, among others.
“These are high-quality phones and they feel really premium [but] cost less than P5,000,” Sengupta said.
In the future, more Android One phones will be produced at different price ranges, he said.